For the release of Lamb Of God's new album next January, we had a discussion with Randy Blythe, the frontman of the band. An interview that shows an unaffected, spontaneous character definitely rooted in the present. The message in these records is obvious, and an album is nothing but a picture of the current time. So according to him, it's too early to claim that the shy evolutions heard on the very efficient Resolution, introduced by a sludge track and closed by a song with an orchestra (we talked about this experience for a while, then moved on to his opinion on classical music), are the start of a more defined change. We doubt it, though. The orchestra's only here thanks to a suggestion from the producer, and this really good sludge intro seems to be the result of an of-the-moment impulse that'll stay without any follow-up.
The interview has been made the day after the official announcement of Gojira's signature with Roadrunner Records; Randy being quite close to the band, we also asked him about these news.
Radio Metal : new album is entitled Resolution. A resolution is the decision to change something in your behaviour, your personality or your habits. So, what is Lamb Of God's Resolution ?
Randy Blythe (vocals) : Resolution doesn't necessary means just that you're going to change, a resolution can be a lot of different things. It can mean the end and result of a lot of stuff, it can mean a clarity of vision, so... You're right, it can be a decision you're going to make, so my resolution on this record is just to tour the world and put on the best show we can.
On the album's artwork we see a desertic place and what looks like an erupting volcano in the background. According to songtitles like "Desolation", "To The End" or "Ghost Walkin", the album seems to talk about the end of the world. Is "Resolution" a way for you to say that people have to change their behaviour in order to prevent a negative response from the nature?
Well, I said that on the last song of the last record, and yes. I would say that the world is looking very bad right now, and that people should change their behaviour, otherwise it's all gonna fuckin' blow off, you know what I mean? And it's finally already there from the unrest across the world right now I think. The things are more and more heading in a bad direction. Well, I don't know. 2012 will come and we'll see what happen [he laughs].
Do you believe that at the end of 2012 the world will end?
I don't know! Maybe!
You wrote on your blog that you hated the process of sequencing the album and to pick an order for the songs. Is it hard for the band to find an order that satisfies everyone?
Yes. It took a little while with this one, and we figured that out. You know, it's really hard. Everybody wants to go their own way, you know what I mean? But we finally figured it out. It's worth what it's worth and I think the sequences in this record move nicely, the pace and all, it's a good time.
Ok, but when we read these posts on your blog, it looks very emotional. Does that mean that some songs you really liked were suppressed for the sake of the record?
No! Not at all in this one. I mean, on this record, we wrote and recorded 16 songs. We weren't gonna put 'em all on the record. So we were on this very good spot where we had the “problem” of having to choose which songs won't get on the record. The album is fourteen tracks, it's almost an hour long. Any more than that is a bit overkill actually. I don't think the songs were suppressed, it was just a matter of us saying “ok, we're approaching and now let's be done with it”.
Ok, and what about these other songs? Will they be released someday?
Yeah sure, of course! Somewhere. They aren't gonna disappear. Who knows where they'll go...
You declared that a great album isn't composed of every musican's favorite songs but of every musician's BEST songs. How do you manage to make the difference?
For us, that's kind of easy because we're five on this. If we were a solo project, if it was just a Randy Blythe record, then I would take my favorite songs, but since there're four other dudes, we all kind of keep each other in check. We vote and so on. It's a democratic process and I think how the four of us are acting so far as brought off the best.
Are outside people involved in that process?
No, it's just the band.
Musically, the album starts with a short song with a doom/sludge vibe, and it ends with a song with an orchestra. Are those songs some kind of clues of how Lamb Of God could evolve in the future?
We just finished this album, it doesn't come out 'till january, so we aren't thinking about the next record. We are thinking about this album right now. We are promoting this. I have no idea what's gonna happen in two or three years when we'll be doing our next record. You can ask me then but for now I don't know!
Both songs are pretty convincing. Why didn't you try to go further in those experimentations, like more songs with this doom/sludge vibe or more songs with an orchestra?
Because we wrote exactly what we wanted to write, and those songs were written because at the moment of time, we were on the mood to create a sludge song, we were like “what if we wrote a sludge song?”, then we didn't felt like doing it anymore, so we did something else. The orchestra was added at the end. This song was not meant to have a orchestra or an opera singer, that was just added at the end.
How did you get the idea of playing with an orchestra?
Our producer Josh thought it out. He said “you know what? Some strings would sound good here as well as an opera voice”, so we said “ok!”.
How was this experience? What were the most difficult parts of the process of recording such a song?
About the song itself, it was the same, it was just recorded without an orchestra in mind. That came in the very end. So we were just recording it the same way we record other songs. The most difficult part of the process really was figuring out the mix in balance, to where the opera voices and orchestra wouldn't override the song itself. It was a difficult mixing issue, not so much a difficult writing issue.
About this song, Chris Adler your drummer said "We were trying to figure out how to not be black metal but do something totally different.". Do you have a problem with black metal?
No. Chris talks a lot but perhaps he probably shouldn't. I mean basically a lot of black metal bands, and we're friends of some black metal bands, use orchestra and so on, and we're not a black metal band, so we just want to make sure it didn't sound like black metal. I mean that was just a stupid comment, whatever, that really has nothing to do with anything. I'm friends with dudes in black metal bands, that's kind of their deal, you know? We're not a black metal band, it's all good, we tour with black metal bands, but no, we don't have any problem with black metal.
Are the musicians from the orchestra Lamb Of God fans?
No, they weren't fans. That was just people that were hired.
Some metalheads say that heavy metal is the new classical music. Do you agree with that?
No. Classical music is classical fuckin' music. If heavy metal guys want to use strings or whatever, there're just using an aspect of it. That's a ridiculous comment. No, heavy metal is not the new goddamned classical music. People who do heavy metal – most of them – have no clue of the in-depth that compose a piece of classical music. If you write classical music you have to write parts for thirty, fourty different instruments depending on how big the orchestra is. Heavy metal definitely has a high skill level involved, much more so than your average pop song, but it's nowhere near the skill and force that's required to write a full orchestration piece of classical music. But I don't know metalheads that think heavy metal is the new classical music... Whatever. You know, there's a few, but most of the metalheads I know are proud of what they are, like “yeah I dig it, it's fuckin' heavy metal”, you know?
During your 2012 world tour, you will shoot a film documenting fans and their personal sories of how they use the band's music to cope with their everyday lives. How did you get this idea?
That's management, and that's really too early to talk about that right now. That was our managers' idea, but I don't know exactly how it's gonna work out and how they're filming and what they're giving the people for right now, the film crew and places and ideas. But really, that was our management idea. Our job is just to go out and tour, and we'll see what happen.
Do you think that Lamb Of God's music has an impact on people's everyday lives more than other bands?
I don't know! I certainly wouldn't claim that. I'm dealing with my band, not other people's band, so I'm not gonna be involved in a project that's says “ok, how listening to Rush or Black Sabbath or whatever affect your everyday life?” We're dealing with our band. No, I don't know man, I don't know everybody, I don't know how other bands impact people's lives, I only know how my band affect some people's lives because they tell me.
What about you? What bands have a real impact on your life?
Oh God... You know, the old punk rock, like the Sex Pistols, the Misfits, Bad Brain, Black Flag, all of that stuff. That's what I grew up on and that's what I still listen to these days.
We learned that the french band Gojira has signed a deal with Roadrunner Records. You're close friends with these guys, what's your opinion on that?
I think it's gonna be great for them. You know, Listenable Records did a great job for them as long as they could, Prostatic did a good job at the stage they had reached... They fought really hard to get where they are, you know? They deserve a larger label that can get their music up to as many people as possible because they really are one of the most talented bands out there I think. I'm very excited for them, I hope it does nothing but good things for them.
Since you've collaborated with them on their album The Way Of All Flesh, is it possible to see Joe Duplantier sing on a Lamb Of God song in the future?
Sure! You know, I've thought about it, absolutely, but there's no plans for that right now. He sang with us live many times, but there's no plans for that 'cause we're just done recording but he's certainly a vocalist I would consider having on our record if we were gonna have guest vocals.
Interview conducted on november 9th, 2011 by phone
Transcription : Chloé & Amélie
Lamb Of God's Website : www.lamb-of-god.com
This post is also available in: French